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Slow Clap

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"From all the people, one begins
And one by one they all join in
Soon everyone has risen to applaud."
Ookla The Mok, "Hollywood's Ending"

After bearing witness to a heartfelt speech or courageous performance, one person in the audience gradually rises to their feet and starts putting their hands together for the display. The person momentarily appears alone with his decision, until another person also rises to start clapping. Three more audience members follow suit. Then twelve more, then fifty, then a hundred, then a thousand. Before you know it, everyone in the audience is on their feet, clapping and cheering. Sometimes, the slow clap is started by The Rival, indicating either a Heel–Face Turn or upgrading him from Jerkass to Worthy Opponent status.

Also known as a "Golf Clap". Not to be confused with Sarcastic Clapping, which is also slow, but different. It also does not mean a not very fast infection of gonorrhea.

This trope is Truth in Television. It may be preceded by Stunned Silence. Compare and contrast Only One Finds It Fun.


    open/close all folders 

  • There's a beer commercial where a rock-climber, horrified that his buddy's gear draws attention to said buddy's nethers, politely makes up something about "Ocular Trauma" to get out of going with him. The old dudes watching the exchange break into a Slow Clap.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Occurs in Code Geass when Suzaku is knighted, though in this instance the quiet isn't due to hesitation but hatred: most of the audience, being biased to say the least, is greatly opposed to a Japanese becoming a knight. Lloyd starts the clap, but it isn't until General Darlton (the highest ranking non-royal in the country) pointedly starts clapping too that the rest of the Brittanians reluctantly join in.
  • A variant regularly occurs in Nodame Cantabile, where silence almost always greets a performance by any of the characters. One member of the audience will then inevitably stand up and shout "Bravo!" at which point the applause explodes.
  • The graduation episode of Azumanga Daioh. And it works. What's even more heartwarming is that the character who starts it has spent pretty much the whole series up to that point being a total ass.
  • Gundam Wing has it after Relena's speech after being proclaimed as Queen of the Earth. First to clap is Dorothy though most of the council joins pretty fast.
  • In Tora Dora, Ryuuji starts applauding for Taiga in this fashion during the School Festival's beauty contest.
  • Shows up on a smaller scale in Princess Tutu. After Rue and Duck finish their half of a Dance Duel, Fakir starts a very slow clap for them, and eventually the whole class joins in. It's the first hint that Fakir might not be as bad as he seems.
  • In the last episode of Girls und Panzer, Shiho gives one after her younger daughter Miho defeats her elder sister Maho in their one-on-one Tank Showdown during the tournament finals. Although there's still debate as to the same.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, Yusei's introduction to the Fortune Cup is met with jeers, as he is a criminal from the Satellite. Another competitor, Griger, makes a speech about how it doesn't matter where Yusei comes from so long as he's a worthy duelist, prompting Rex Goodwin to kick off the applause.
  • In the season one finale of Zombie Land Saga, Franchouchou are performing their song "Yomigaere" during their first major live concert in Arpino, when all of a sudden, their performance is cut short by the snowstorm crushing the entire stage onto the group. This causes Sakura, the leader of the group, who is still going through an amnesiac problem from the last few episodes, to give up on performing the song. However, this all changes when the group's manager Kotaro starts to clap slowly, which causes the entire group besides Sakura to start singing the chorus of their song, as more and more people start joining in with Kotaro's clapping. Shortly afterwards, this causes Sakura to finally chin up and belt out the final part of the chorus, which not only allows the show to go on, but Sakura also gets rid of her amnesia problems in the process.

    Comic Books 
  • Burlap: Cottontail gives one to Chuckles when the latter introduces him to their latest victims.
  • Empowered: Empowered gets one by her fellow superheroes at the Capeys. Thugboy lampshades it. But it's just an illusion made by Anglerfish anyway.
  • In Powers there's a pretty heartwarming example. When Christian comes back to work on the force, the resident Jerkass starts clapping, and it seems at first like Sarcastic Clapping. But as Deena turns to glare at him, she realizes that he actually means it, and then the rest of the force joins in to welcome him back.

    Film — Animation 
  • A Bug's Life played it perfectly at the end to praise Flik as a hero. It started with the circus bugs (Rosie starts the slow clap), then Atta, the Queen, Dot, and soon the entire colony is roaring. Flik may got a little misty-eyed.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Considered the first modern use of this trope, played straight in the final moments of the 1980 film Brubaker. Fired from his job as a reform warden trying to clean up a corrupt prison farm, the titular Brubaker (Robert Redford) is on his way out while the new warden outlines a return to the old ways, when one prisoner starts a slow clap. Soon almost the entire prisoner population is applauding his efforts.
  • The classic '80s film Lucas plays it completely straight at the end.
  • Spoofed and lampshaded in Not Another Teen Movie, when a guy keeps trying to start a slow clap, only to be shushed and lectured that it's the wrong time. The third time, he finally realizes that he has the perfect chance to start one, but he's beaten to the punch by the Unlucky Childhood Friend pulling this as part of I Want My Beloved to Be Happy, earning the latter a beating at the hands of the Slow Clap guy.
  • Subverted beautifully in The Producers: At the premiere of Springtime for Hitler, the audience is dumbstruck by the play's praise of the Nazis. But one lone audience member begins to clap— and is promptly rounded on and pummeled mercilessly by the rest of the audience.
  • Death Becomes Her: Ernest Menville is the only person who claps at the end of Madeline Ashton’s “Songbird” performance. Unlike The Producers, the audience does not pummel him since very few people are left in the theater. [1]
  • Foul Play: Everyone else in the theater starts to clap when the Pope claps.
  • It's even done in Citizen Kane, although with a bit of a twist. After the disastrous operatic debut of his wife Susan, Kane stubbornly stands up and claps and the rest of the audience begrudgingly follows suit.
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country wasn't above this one either, after Kirk finished his dramatic speechifying before the Federation leadership.
  • Where the Red Fern Grows: Sort-of used and sort-of subverted. During a competition to catch as many as possible in one night, circumstances force the protagonist to abandon several raccoons his dogs had treed. He nonetheless claps heartily (but not slowly) for the winner when everyone else was too embarrassed to do so, having heard the story of what happened the night before. For his sportsmanship, the winner gives the kid the prize money.
  • Subverted in the film Little Miss Sunshine. At the end of Olive's performance, one single person claps, four people in the audience follow, and someone even yells "AMAZING!!!", to no effect.
  • Played straight to great dramatic effect in the climax of the movie Strictly Ballroom, where the music stops, and the protagonist's father starts a slow clap as a beat for his son to dance to. The entire audience gradually join in.
  • Played straight-up in Rudy when he returns to the practice field, and it manages to fit the scene perfectly.
  • This is used in the last scene of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to welcome back Hagrid after Harry declares to everyone that there wouldn't a Hogwarts without him. Bonus points for the triumphant music playing in the background and curtain call shots of the main trio and supporting characters as they were cheering. Also parodied when Goyle cluelessly starts to join in, but Malfoy grabs him and pulls him back down. Ironically, his actor forgot he wasn't supposed to stand and thought he ruined the shot, but the crew loved it and threw it in the final product for one last laugh.
  • A variation of the slow clap is used in the movie Iron Will at the race's conclusion. Instead of clapping, the audience whistles Will's father's tune to encourage him to the finish. The whistle is initiated by Will's friend Ned Dodd.
  • In The Dark Knight, after Harvey Dent claims to be Batman and is arrested in the Bat's stead, the Gotham PD applauds Harvey as he's escorted to the armored truck that will carry him to prison. The RiffTrax fellows lampshade this in their commentary.
  • While not actual clapping, the ending of Dead Poets Society has the students instead standing on their desks reciting the lines "O Captain, my Captain" to say goodbye to John Keating, much to the annoyance of the substitute professor.
    Substitute Professor: SIT DOWN! SIT DOWN I SAY!
    • Parodied in an episode of The League of Gentlemen, when Mickey tries to start all the restart class standing on their desks in support of Pauline. It doesn't work, but she's touched by the gesture anyway.
  • The Ip Man Film Series has these in both Ip Man 2 and Ip Man 4 which interestingly has the titular hero defeating western opponents.
  • A variation can be done by a crowd slowly taking up a common chant, as in the final scene of Braveheart following Robert the Bruce's line: "You have bled with bleed with me!"
  • The slow clap also appears at the end of Cool Runnings as the assembled athletes cheer the first Jamaican Bobsled Team for finishing the race despite their spectacular crash costing them the medal. To add to the effect, it's started by The Rival as a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Used in The Music Man, though not actually clapping. Mayor Shinn asks if anyone thinks Harold Hill should be tarred and feathered, and says that if anyone doesn't think so, "Let him, by God, stand up!" First Mrs. Paroo stands up. And then some of the mothers. Lampshaded when Mrs. Shinn stands up, the Mayor tells her to sit down, and Mrs. Paroo hauls her up and they both stare defiantly at the mayor.
  • At the end of Rollerball, Jonathan E gets a kind of Slow Chant as the audience starts whispering his name, gradually rising to a humongous roar.
  • In Men Behind the Sun, Shiro Ishii gets one of these when he demonstrates his idea for a low-temperature bacterial bomb, which would be more effective at spreading bacteria than the normal bombs Unit 731 had been testing.
  • Shakespeare in Love has the first ever performance of Romeo and Juliet greeted this way (the applause is picked up quicker than in most examples, but it audibly starts with a single, hesitant person).
  • Every sports movie ever ends this way. Including but not confined to Strictly Ballroom and Cool Runnings, mentioned above.
  • In Matilda, Trunchball punishes a boy for stealing her cake by making him eat a much larger cake in front of the whole school. The crowd cheers him on to encourage him. In the movie (not the book) this is started by Matilda.
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: Played with. When Smith presents his bill to the Senate, he has an obvious case of Performance Anxiety and the senators are chuckling patronizingly behind their hands. As soon as he finishes, however, he gets an uproarious ovation from a tour group of orphans who, unnoticed by anyone else, were observing from the gallery. Hearing this, the senators realize that Smith's bill is actually a pretty good idea and gradually join in the applause.
  • Wild America: After the Stouffer brothers play their wildlife movie in the school gym, their father starts to clap, and after a long pause, the rest of the audience joins in.
  • Dancing Trees: After Martha's performance at a recital, during which she plays most of a Fryderyk Chopin piece on an air piano, the audience sits in confused silence until her mother starts clapping, and then everyone else joins in.
  • Elves (2017): The red-haired girl interrupts the Tropaholics Anonymous support group by walking into the room, clapping slowly.

  • Artemis Fowl does this in The Lost Colony when Minerva gets the goblin before he can. Since it happens at the conclusion of a play, the rest of the audience thinks this is a straight example and follows through with the normal trope. Only Artemis and Minerva know his Slow Clap was his way of acknowledging a worthy opponent.
  • Discworld
    • Captain Carrot starts one of these in Jingo after Commander Vimes gives a speech, somewhat to Vimes's embarrassment.
    • Unseen Academicals: Nobody in particular starts it, but Nutt gets one.
  • The Hunger Games: Not exactly an applause, but the whole community of District 12 uses a cultural gesture to show their support of Katniss when she takes her sister's place. District 11 tries this as well and pays the price.
  • Subverted in World War Z, where an ambassador recalls that after the President's heroic speech to the UN about taking back the world from the zombies, this is exactly what didn't happen. Instead, everyone started arguing at once.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Used straight on Babylon 5. Shortly after they break away from the EA, the current commander gives a motivational speech. After he appears on the main concourse, all the inhabitants of the station are there, and give him a Slow Clap. In the commentary on one of the DVD scenes, the director admits its unrealisticness, but said that he chose to do it to avoid a Downer Ending for that particular episode.
  • Ronald D. Moore's reboot of Battlestar Galactica loves this to death. The Slow Clap is out in full force in the miniseries, and used again and again, completely unironically, in the series itself. It's actually become a sort of in-joke when not pulled off successfully — as when Gaius Baltar completely fails to start a Slow Clap in CIC when Cmdr. Adama returns after recovering from his gunshot wounds and heart surgery.
  • Explicitly invoked by Hank in Californication (season 2, episode 4) after his daughter defends her interest in The Satanic Bible against criticism from Julian, a self-help author whose work she describes as "gobbledygook".
  • Spoofed and lampshaded in the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend episode "Josh and I Go to Los Angeles". After she loses the case, the defendants begin clapping and singing a reprise of "Flooded with Justice", with some even singing "Slow clap, slow clap..." in the background.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Hungry Earth", Nasreen attempts to start one after the Doctor's Rousing Speech, but is unsuccessful.
  • Played straight twice at the end of two episodes of the 2017 series of The Worst Witch:
    • How the Season 2 finale ends after Miss Cackle's brief but emotional speech, expressing that they are "one magical family". It was led by Beatrice Bunch (Ynez Williams) and Mildred Hubble (Bella Ramsey) along with her mum, Julie Hubble (Nicola Stephenson).
    • Following Ada Cackle's announcement of Mildred's promotion to Head Girl, as well as an acceptance monologue by Mildred, in the Grand Finale of the series, the slow clap was initiated in this order: Ms. Hardbroom, Ethel Hallow, Julie Hubble, Dave "Spike" Jones, Maud Spellbody, Ada Cackle, and eventually the entire school.
  • How the Grand Finale of The Oprah Winfrey Show comes to an end as a response to Oprah's Rousing Speech. No one knew who started it, but some say it was Oprah's partner/boyfriend Stedman Graham.
  • Spoofed on Even Stevens, where after having a talk with his father, Louis decides not to let being a class clown consume him and perform a regular high dive. He does just that, and proclaims to his surprised peers that he is not a clown. Unfortunately his swim trunks came off anyway during the dive. Nevertheless, his father is impressed with his son's actions and applauds him, which no one else joins in.
    Steve: What? No slow clap? ...Okay. (sits back down)
  • Parodied on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Uncle Phil's rival while running for judge drops dead while Will is berating him. At the funeral, while the mourners are all going on about what an asshole he was, Will makes a speech about how while he wasn't a perfect person, yes, he was a person, and he deserves better. When asked who he thinks he is, Will responds with "I'm the dude that killed him". The slow clap then begins.
  • A fairly well justified variant appears in Game of Thrones third season: Shortly after Danerys has bought an Unsullied slave army and then sacked the slaver city that produced it, executing all the slavemasters she offers the men of her army their unconditional freedom... and asks that they continue to fight for her as free men. There's a very long, awkward silence, during which even her own men fear the Unsullied have spent too long in slavery to understand freedom. Then one soldier starts tapping the butt of his spear against the ground...
  • Ghosts (US): After Trevor gives a speech about how they shouldn't blame local teenagers for a fire Thorfinn accidentally started, he slow claps his own speech. Everyone else quickly joins in.
  • Glee: Mike tries to start one up after Finn and Rachel perform a somewhat un-PC take on 'With You I'm Born Again', but Tina clamps his hands together after one clap.
  • On an episode of Just Shoot Me!, Finch got a slow clap standing ovation from a crowd of men after valiantly trying (but failing) to set up a tryst between Maya and another woman.
  • The Mighty Boosh: Howard receives one of these in "The Chokes", courtesy of his hero, Jurgen Haaberemaaster.
  • Shoestring: Eddie tries a slow clap while attending a university lecture in "The Farmer Had a Wife". After the lecture ends, he claps four times, then stops when nobody else joins in.
  • In the penultimate episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, after a xenophobic terrorist group nearly sabotages a Peace Conference, Archer delivers a Patrick Stewart Speech to get the talks back on track. Soval (who had spent three seasons being an "Ass" in Ambassador) stands up and starts clapping, and everyone else joins in.
  • That '70s Show: Eric, Hyde and Kelso did this for Bob after he told Donna that she has no right to question who he dates, Jackie's mom in this case.
  • Played with on an episode of The West Wing. During a Flashback sequence, we see then-Governor Bartlet running for President, and while at a function, giving an answer to a question that doesn't please many of his constituents, who offer only polite applause at the end. It does, however, please Josh Lyman, who's there simply out of courtesy, but becomes enthralled by Bartlet's way of looking at the world (vetoing a bill that benefited dairy farmers because said bill would make it more expensive for families to buy milk; not only that, but Bartlet said that he completely respected anyone who didn't like this, and if they wanted something else from their presidential candidate, they should vote for someone else), and so gives a slow clap. It doesn't motivate the rest of the audience, but it makes Josh join Bartlet's staff soon after.

  • Ookla The Mok's "Hollywood's Ending" describes a theatre full of people reacting this way to the equally cliched ending of a cowboy movie. The narrator notes that everybody wants to be in their own movie.

    Music Videos 
  • In ""Shia LaBeouf" Live", when the performance has ended, Shia LaBeouf stands up, giving a slow-clapping applause for almost half a minute before sitting back down.

  • The Christian radio drama Adventures in Odyssey used a variation, but the sentiment was very much there: When Connie graduates as class valedictorian, she is expected to offer a prayer in her graduation speech (a fifty-year tradition at her school), but is caught between her offered prayer being rejected as potentially offensive to non-Christians, and a bland, practically meaningless pre-written prayer. When the moment comes, she explains the situation and takes a third option by not choosing not to pray at all. There is a silence that seems to be the setup for a Slow Clap, only for someone in the audience to start singing "Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow". More join in line by line. Appropriately, her final lines are delivered through tears.

    Video Games 
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, Seifer starts one after Squall receives his SeeD ranking.
  • In Serious Sam II, near the end of the game, after you've freed the Alliance fighters in the military base level, Sam starts giving a motivational speech before the attack on the bad guys' base starts. Unfortunately, a couple of Gnaars start playing around with his loudspeakers, making it sound nihilistic at best. After a moment of silence, a sing child starts clapping anyway, soon followed by everyone else, before taking off in their planes.

    Web Original 
  • The Nostalgia Critic lampshades this when reviewing several 80s and 90s sports movies. He begins to slowly clap and we cut to clips from the movies of other characters doing the same, making it appear that they, like he, are applauding the trope itself.

  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja features a single ninja giving the slow clap to a bunch of Irish villagers, which Dr. McNinja claims is probably the world's first recorded instance of such. The Alt Text corrects that the first was actually Saint Peter starting one after Jesus raised Lazarus.
  • Woo Hoo features a very silly instance of this when introducing the antagonistic Raj.
  • Dominic Deegan has this when Gregory Deegan's new band, "Facebath," plays their first song. At first the audience is silent after the song ends, until Lars Sturtz stands up and yells "That was un-fucking-believable!" This breaks the silence as the rest of the audience erupts into cheering.

    Western Animation 
  • Subverted on Family Guy after Brian wins his freedom. One man salutes his bravery by starting a Slow Clap — and remains completely alone.
  • Mocked in American Dad! episode "The Magnificent Steven". Stan is standing trial, and Toshi gives a condemning speech in Japanese asking for his severe punishment. A Slow Clap begins and Stan is acquitted by the judge - apparently everyone inexplicably misinterpreted it as a moving account of what he learned from Stan.
  • Subverted at the end of one Camp Lazlo episode. Lazlo, who has "borrowed" everyone's stuff and is being chased by an angry mob, gives a speech about how he has learned that borrowing without permission is no different from stealing. One guy in the mob starts clapping slowly, and sappy music plays. The guy next to him elbows him and says to knock it off. Everyone walks off grumbling.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, Lisa ends with a very brief speech, simply stating that Jeremiah Springfield was great. The response is this trope.
    • And a missed shot from a sniper.
  • Also happens in Danny Phantom during the Grand Finale. Danny delivers a plan to save the world and the first person to clap is his father, followed his mother, teacher, and so forth. No lampshading, but Mr. Lancer does complain no one gave that much enthusiastic effort with their school work.
    • Also occurs at the end of the episode, after Danny reveals his secret identity to everyone.
  • Hey Arnold!: when singer Dino Spumoni finally confesses to everyone that he is still alive after having faked his death for publicity purposes- at the end of the episode, Dino gives a big speech and an apology, and Arnold is the first one to start clapping.
  • Played straight in an episode of The Batman. After saving Gotham City from Mr. Freeze and Firefly, Batman is suddenly caught in the spotlight of the police — led by Chief Rojas, who has been gunning for his arrest his whole career. After a pause, one of the officers begins to clap. Over Rojas' protests, the rest follow suit. Never mind that someone probably got fired over that, it works.
  • Duckman: Duckman gets one of these at the end of the episode "Das Sub"; the clappers follow him home, and he finally has to call the police in to disperse them.
  • Happens in Bob's Burgers episode "Purple Rain-Union", after The Ta-Ta's play Gayle's song at the reunion.
  • In The Venture Bros., Hank gives a speech to SPHINX about why he's qualified to join them. At the end, one of the SPHINX goons starts to slow clap, at which point Hunter Gathers knocks the goon out with a phone.
  • In Recess, substitute teacher Mr. E does this after hearing T.J.'s speech about how because everyone loved how awesome Mr. E was that they completely forgot about their real teacher, Miss Grotke.
  • In the South Park episode "Stunning and Brave", after Kyle reluctantly praises Caitlyn Jenner as a hero in order to stop the violence around him, P.C. Principal starts clapping in an intimidating manner, prompting everyone around him to join in.
  • Happens at the end of the Bluey episode, "The Quiet Game". Following Alfie's successful attempt in deciphering Bluey and Bingo's charades, the result is Bluey and Bingo cheering and chanting "Alfie!", finally breaking their silence. Then Bandit joins in the sisters' cheering, and soon the entire store was roaring, with the final person to join was Alfie's new boss. Alfie must have gotten teary-eyed.

    Real Life 
  • When Billie Holiday first sang "Strange Fruit", the result was silence... then a Slow Clap.
  • When Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 had its premiere in London, after the movie was over, with the final fade-to-black after the epilogue...the result was a lone fan clapping with tears of joy then followed by 10 more fans and soon, the theater was roaring.

Waldorf: What was with the clapping? If you call that clapping?
Statler: Well, that's what you call an orchestral crescendo, with hands!
Both: Do-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-hoh!


Video Example(s):


No Hogwarts Without Hagrid

Cleared of opening the Chamber of Secrets, Hagrid is welcomed back to Hogwarts.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / SlowClap

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